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Our research

Our research tackles cancer from all angles

Bringing together the brightest minds in cancer research, our experts break new ground in the way we prevent, screen, treat and care for patients with cancer. We have significant capability in many areas of cancer research. The CRN currently hosts 12 Special Interest Groups.

Special Interest Groups

The new AI in Cancer Care Special Interest Group (AICC SIG) centres on informing and promoting applied cancer research using AI systems in clinical care, clinical decision-making, and population health practice in cancer.

It brings together researchers with interests and expertise in this rapidly evolving, multidisciplinary field including machine learning, natural language processing, statistical and cyber systems that replicate human decision-making ability and experts in the application of AI in cancer research and practice. The SIG encompasses all aspects of AI application including clinical, methodological and psycho-social research.

Involvement in the AICC SIG provides you with opportunities to connect with other researchers and AI experts in the technical and the applied settings, and to share and expand your knowledge in the latest AI research and developments as it relates to cancer practice.

Chaired by:

  • Professor Nehmat Houssami, Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health
  • Professor Jean Yang, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science

The Brain Tumour Research Special Interest Group (BTRSIG) brings together experts and clinicians that are interested in research that relates to brain tumour prevention, early detection, treatment, health services, health economics or psycho-social impact.

Involvement in the BTRSIG is a great opportunity to discuss new and exciting research in this area, brush up on and expand your knowledge of relevant techniques, discuss possibilities for collaborative research, share your knowledge, and interact with researchers who share your interests.

Chaired by:

  • Professor  Manuel Graeber, Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Clinical Associate Professor Michael Buckland, Department of Neuropathology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Dr Kimberley Alexander, Head of Brain Cancer Research. Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

The Breast Cancer Special Interest Group (BCSIG) brings together a multidisciplinary team of well-established researchers with backgrounds in physiotherapy, oncology, diagnostic testing and imaging, surgery, biology, clinical exercise physiology, evidence synthesis, public health and psychology.

The group focuses on identifying, preventing and modifying risk of breast cancer and its sequelae, including the short and long-term sequelae of breast cancer treatments, to improve prognosis and overall quality of life. It also explores methods of optimising early detection.

Chaired by:

  • Associate Professor Haryana Dhillon, Associate Professor of Psycho-Oncology, Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED), School of Psychology, Faculty of Science 

Bowel (colorectal) cancer is Australia’s third most common malignancy and second deadliest cancer, claiming approximately 100 lives each week.  

Key issues the Bowel Cancer SIG addresses include (1) Prevention and screening (2) Curative pathways (3)  Metastatic disease and palliative pathways for CRC patients (4) Public health and guideline development

By harnessing the strengths of researchers at The University of Sydney and its clinical partners, we can better address this health burden through research. The Bowel Cancer SIG will enhance research opportunities through collaboration and sharing of expertise and underpin more competitive large-scale grant applications.

Chaired by:

  • Professor Mark Molloy, Lawrence Penn Chair of Bowel Cancer Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health
  • Professor Alexander Engel, Professor of Surgery;
    Colorectal Surgery, Northern Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health

The Comparative Oncology Special Interest Group (CO-SIG) links together human and animal cancer researchers to exploit animal cancer models as a means of generating new knowledge of understanding in basic cancer mechanisms as well as their treatment.

Involvement in CO-SIG is a great opportunity to be part of building an Australia-Asia recognised research facility for the integration of naturally occurring cancer models into the development of novel cancer research and treatments for humans and animals.

Chaired by:

  • Associate Professor Peter Bennett, Associate Professor in Oncology and Small Animal Medicine, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science

The Diagnosis to Rehabilitation, Survivorship and Palliative care in Cancer Research Translation Special Interest Group (DIRECTSIG) has been established to facilitate and support effective, integrative, multi-disciplinary, multi-faculty, multi-institutional translational research across the entirety of the individual’s cancer journey.

The DIRECT group brings together researchers who are active in researching different aspects of the cancer patient’s journey that commences with its diagnosis, progressing through treatment and rehabilitation to return to the community, or for some, to palliative care.  By gathering these researchers under one banner, ideas and support can be generated and shared, which will enable synergies to be identified and developed.

Chaired by:

  • Professor Patrick Brennan, Discipline of Medical Radiation Sciences, Sydney School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health

The Melanoma & Skin Cancer Special Interest Group (MELSIG) brings together experts that are interested in research that relates to melanoma and other skin cancers, including prevention, early detection, treatment, health services, health economics or psycho-social impact.

Involvement in the MELSIG will let you discuss new and exciting research in this area, brush up on and expand your knowledge of relevant techniques, discuss possibilities for collaborative research, share your knowledge, and interact with researchers who share your interests.

Chaired by:

  • Dr James Wilmott, Melanoma Institute Australia and The Universtiy of Sydney
  • Dr Inês Silva, Medical Oncologist and Researcher, Melanoma Institute Australia

Pancreatic cancer is the most aggressive and difficult to treat cancer affecting Australians, and treatment options for most patients are limited to chemotherapy with poor efficacy and high rates of resistance. 

Improving early detection of pancreatic cancer and developing more effective therapeutic approaches are key issues in Pancreatic Cancer treatment. We are well positioned to address both these  areas through our network of expert researchers, advanced infrastructure and relationships with leading pancreatic cancer treatment centers.  

The Pancreatic Cancer SIG will bring together interested researchers and enhance opportunities for collaboration and sharing of expertise, resources and new technologies. This will enable the development of high-scale grant applications and markedly enhance our research impact, with high potential for clinical translation.

Chaired by:

  • Dr Sumit Sahni, Senior Cancer Research Fellow
    Northern Clinical School, Kolling Institute of Medical Research
  • Dr Zaklina Kovacevic, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Pathology, head of the Tumour Microenvironment and Metastasis Lab

The Patient Reported Outcomes Special Interest Group (PRO-SIG) is involved in conducting quality PRO research to achieve the best possible quality of life for people affected by cancer, their families, healthcare providers and funders. It is a multidisciplinary endeavour, requiring insights and methods from medicine, psychology and statistics.

The Cancer Research Network includes some world leaders in various aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and PRO assessment. PRO-SIG enables the expertise of those few individuals to flow and grow into a critical mass, to ensure that members of our network conduct world-class PRO research.

Chaired by:
  • Dr Claudia Rutherford, Research Fellow, Quality of Life Office, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science

The Prostate Cancer Special Interest Group (PCaSIG) brings together prostate cancer researchers from across the University of Sydney to enhance current research activities and create strategic partnerships.

Involvement in PCaSIG is a great opportunity to address acute research problems in this area, discuss possibilities for collaborative research, develop long-term strategic research partnerships leading to major research funding outcomes, and interact with researchers who share your interests.

Chaired by:

  • Dr Roger Bourne, Discipline of Medical Radiation Sciences, Sydney School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health

Explore your interests, all of them.

The Cancer Research Network would like to hear from members who are interested in starting a Special Interest Group (SIG) in cancer research.

The purpose of SIGs is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and promote collaboration between members of the CRN who share common research interests.